Corona Virus Update from Tourism Australia

coronaOver the past week, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to escalate throughout Australia and around the world. The Federal, State and Territory Governments have responded by implementing further restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Australia.

All non-essential domestic travel has been advised against and most States and Territories have closed their borders to interstate travel. These measures are constantly under review, so we will continue to update you with new information as it occurs.

For more detail on travel restrictions, please visit the Australian Border Force website, and for more information on health and safety measures, please visit the Department of Health’s website.

The Australian Government has also announced measures to support jobs, businesses and the economy through the crisis. Tourism Australia has created a page on their corporate site to help industry navigate all the various forms of financial support available.

As the situation continues to evolve quickly, with a number of announcements and measures being made to support industry, Tourism Australia has decided to start hosting weekly webinars, with the first one started on Friday 27 March.

Chairman’s Note

chairmenDon’t think, I can begin my note on any other subject other than COVID 19 pandemic – an unprecedented disaster that has brought the world almost to a standstill.

As of 5th April as per World Health Organisation (WHO) data, there has been 1133758 confirmed cases and 63784 deaths globally. These respective numbers in Australia are 5635 and 34 while in India its 3374 and 70.

The numbers testify how grim is the situation affecting in every country all industries including travel and tourism.

Lockdown in many countries, closure of international borders, visa withdrawals, reducing the number of domestic and international flights to the bare minimum, cancellations of all travel in the imminent future – this leading to in some cases shutting down of airlines, hotels and tour operators – tells how badly tourism is getting affected. All major tourism trade events in the near future are cancelled, this includes ITB Berlin. ATE2020 in Melbourne and GITB in Jaipur. Even the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July has been postponed by 12 months.

During these unfavourable circumstances, as a travel and tourism expert I am being regularly asked “Shall we be able to travel again?”

“Yes of course”, I say knowing travel is an essential urge in humans since time immemorial.

What I am not sure is the timing of when the situation will normalise, so until that happens let’s think and plan on how to regain the lost regime. Tourism Australia is taking the breathing space afforded by this downturn to look at a possible revamp of its marketing of business events. While speaking at the first of a series of weekly industry webinars being convened Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director Tourism Australia said as flight networks start up again, Australia is one of the key destinations included in the plans of resurgent carriers.

As a result of forced isolation, many innovative ideas are coming out to keep the industry energized and connected like regular webinar sessions from industry bodies, virtual fam trips for travel agents, tour operators and media and flooding social media with photos of exotic sites to keep people hoping to be there one day.

In this context I have a request to producers of television travel  shows and publishers of all travel related print and digital publications around the world. Please don’t discontinue travel shows on television and don’t stop publishing travel pages as because travel is restricted now. In today’s difficult times, possibly these footage or pages can create a sense of hope – can energise the reader’s mind, bring positives in their thoughts and at times provide a route to escape from reality as it’s needed also to survive.

Early March I was in India for work and while there had a meeting with Andrew Ford, the Consul General of Australia at the newly opened Consulate in Kolkata. We have agreed to work on opportunities to make Australia more known in the nation’s eastern zone and to see growth in numbers of leisure tourists travelling to down under.

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En-route to India I stopped over in Singapore and had a meeting with G.D Bairwa Assistant Director India Tourism and responsible for Australia market. We discussed avenues of how AITTC can effectively work on initiatives in partnership with India Tourism to increased tourism traffic from this part of the world.

Sandip Hor

Chairman

Australian Bushfire Recovery

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In January the Australian Government announced an initial $76 million tourism recovery package as part of the National Bush fire Recovery Fund to encourage tourists to travel across Australia. The package includes funding for the following initiatives:

  • A domestic marketing campaign ($20 million)
  • Increased funds for Tourism Australia’s international marketing ($25 million)
  • Increased funds for Tourism Australia’s International Media Hosting Program ($9.5 million)
  • Increased support and funding for the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) ($6.5 million)
  • A regional tourism events initiative ($10 million)
  • Additional funding for the international diplomatic network ($5 million)

‘How Does India Travel’ report

indiatravelThe travel spend in India is expected to grow at 13 per cent to a total of $136 billion by 2021, said a new report by Bain & Company and Google India on Tuesday.

According to the “How Does India Travel” report, the Indian traveller spent around $94 billion in 2018 on around 2 billion domestic and international trips, thus, helping India’s travel and tourism industry achieve unprecedented scale.

“New users perceive that online channels are geared towards more frequent flyers and experience-oriented travellers and existing travellers research online but the lack of trust in payments and booking experience make them end up booking offline.

“If travel players tap these online users through personalised marketing, messaging and travel plans, they can further augment online travel bookings. This can be done by adopting digital technologies to influence customers early in the journey,” Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director-Sales, Google India, said in a statement.

The report indicates a 12 per cent growth in transportation ($50 billion) and 13 per cent growth in lodging ($21 billion) and consumption, which includes spends on shopping, recreation and food, to grow at 13 per cent ($65 billion) over the next three years.

“There is a perception amongst consumers that online channels are geared towards premium customers, along with a marked distrust around payment and pricing terms. It is imperative for businesses to address these concerns in order to effectively tap into the growing base of users,” Arpan Sheth, Partner, Bain & Company said.

As more people come online, smartphone penetration improves and use of digital payments goes up, the report predicts that Indian travellers would spend an additional $24 billion on online travel bookings over the next three years, a growth from 25 percent in 2018 to 35 per cent in 2021.

New Member – Price Beat Travels

logo price beatIn the past few years, Price Beat Travel ‘s company existence has revolutionized the travel industry and has come a long way in becoming  one of the largest Australian / Indian online travel agency today. With around the clock customer service which we provide to all customers, the company began its journey with the aim to offer a range of best-value travel products and services including, flights, accommodation, cruising, land tours, travel insurance, car/coach hire and more.

With over 40 staff members based in Sydney, Melbourne, and India, staff at Price Beat work together to make your journey a happy one.

Today, Price beat Travel is much more than just any other travel agency. Price beat Travel’s commitment and customer-centricity allows it to better understand and provide for its customer’s diverse needs and wants, and deliver consistently. With dedicated 24×7 customer support, Price beat Travel is there for you, whenever and wherever.

For more info check – www.pricebeattravel.com.au

Scoot to Expand India Operations with Three New Destinations

scootAs per reports released, Scoot, the low-cost arm of Singapore Airlines Group, plans to strengthen its presence in India with the addition of three new cities, namely Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam. The new routes are due to be transferred from Silk Air, and Scoot will be the only airline operating direct non-stop flights from Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam to Singapore.

Flights from Thiruvananthapuram to Singapore will commence as soon as May 7, 2019, and flights from Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam will start from October 27, 2019, all subject to regulatory approval. In India, Scoot already operates seven existing routes from Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli.

Scoot is known worldwide for its low-cost prices and innovative products to help travellers get more bang for their buck such as complimentary data roaming cards and exclusive deals via its member portal Scoot Insider

Vibrant Gujarat

vibrant-gujaratVibrant Gujarat 2019 to be held at Ahmadabad from 16-18 January 2019.This mega global summit pledges to offer delegates a range of business activities which shall include overview of futuristic initiatives (2022), participating country sessions,  several seminars on bilateral trade and  networking opportunities with the state’s small medium and large enterprises in various sectors . In 2017, Australia participated in the event as a Partner Country.

Vibrant Gujarat

v-gujratIndian Consul General , Sydney Mr B Vanlalvawna recently hosted a high level delegation from Gujarat, India most progressive state , visiting Australia to invite attendance at the Vibrant Gujarat 2019 to be held at Ahmadabad from 16-18 January 2019.This mega global summit pledges to offer delegates a range of business activities which shall include overview of futuristic initiatives (2022), participating country sessions, several seminars on bilateral trade and networking opportunities with the state’s small medium and large enterprises in various sectors . In 2017, Australia participated in the event as a Partner Country.

Conde Nest list three top Taj Hotels in their coveted list

tajhotelThree legendary hotels of Taj, the iconic brand of The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) have been recognized by the readers of Conde Nast Traveller UK at the annual Readers’ Travel Awards 2018 across categories. Ranging from authentic palaces to landmark city hotels, Taj combines the best of Indian hospitality and timeless elegance with modern-day luxury. The list includes The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur and Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad.

In the highly coveted World’s Top 100 list, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has been honoured twice, in the categories of Overseas Holiday Hotel and Overseas Business Hotel. The flagship hotel, overlooking the majestic Gateway of India celebrates 115 years of playing host to kings, dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, acknowledged as the most romantic hotel in the world has also featured on the list.

Additionally, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur and Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad – perched 2000 feet above the city of Hyderabad, featured in the list of Top 20 Overseas Holiday Hotels in Asia & the Indian Subcontinent.

The Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards are presented annually and are based on votes from readers of the magazine for the best that the travel world has to offer – from hotels and spas to airlines and airports, rating their choices according to criteria such as service and design. Results are then collated and analysed by an independent market-research company.